January 2015

Mark Haysom is the author of the critically acclaimed ‘Love, Love Me Do’ and ‘Imagine’. Here he publishes his favourite quotes from great writers and great thinkers.

Henry David Thoreau

‘It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see’ – Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, and historian. A leading transcendentalist, Thoreau is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay Resistance to Civil Government (also known as Civil Disobedience), an argument for disobedience to an unjust state. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Robert Louis Stevenson

‘Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant’ – Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson (13 November 1850 – 3 December 1894) was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer. His most famous works are Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. A literary celebrity during his lifetime, Stevenson now ranks among the 26 most translated authors in the world. (Source: Wikipedia)

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locke

‘As people are walking all the time, in the same spot, a path appears’ – John Locke

John Locke FRS (29 August 1632 – 28 October 1704), was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers and known as the “Father of Classical Liberalism”. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Socrates

‘The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing’ – Socrates

Socrates (470/469 – 399 BC) was a classical Greek (Athenian) philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy. He is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon and the plays of his contemporary Aristophanes. Plato’s dialogues are among the most comprehensive accounts of Socrates to survive from antiquity, though it is unclear the degree to which Socrates himself is “hidden behind his ‘best disciple’, Plato”. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Einstein

‘Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving’ – Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein (14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist and philosopher of science. He developed the general theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics (alongside quantum mechanics). He is best known in popular culture for his mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc2 (which has been dubbed “the world’s most famous equation”). He received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Anatole France

‘It is by acts and not by ideas that people live’ – Anatole France

Anatole France (born François-Anatole Thibault, 16 April 1844 – 12 October 1924) was a French poet, journalist, and novelist. He was born in Paris, and died in Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire. He was a successful novelist, with several best-sellers. Ironic and skeptical, he was considered in his day the ideal French man of letters. He was a member of the Académie française, and won the 1921 Nobel Prize for Literature “in recognition of his brilliant literary achievements, characterized as they are by a nobility of style, a profound human sympathy, grace, and a true Gallic temperament”. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Huxley

‘Experience is not what happens to you; it’s what you do with what happens to you’ – Aldous Huxley

Aldous Leonard Huxley (26 July 1894 – 22 November 1963) was an English writer, philosopher and a prominent member of the Huxley family. He was best known for his novels including Brave New World, set in a dystopian London, and for non-fiction books, such as The Doors of Perception, which recalls experiences when taking a psychedelic drug, and a wide-ranging output of essays. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Aesop

‘Please all, and you will please none’ – Aesop

Aesop (c. 620–564 BCE) was an Ancient Greek fabulist or story teller credited with a number of fables now collectively known as Aesop’s Fables. Although his existence remains uncertain and (if he ever existed) no writings by him survive, numerous tales credited to him were gathered across the centuries and in many languages in a storytelling tradition that continues to this day. Many of the tales are characterized by animals and inanimate objects that speak, solve problems, and generally have human characteristics. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Sylvia Plath

‘Imagination is more important than knowledge’ – Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath ( October 27, 1932 – February 11, 1963) was an American poet, novelist, and short-story writer. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, she studied at Smith College and Newnham College at the University of Cambridge, before receiving acclaim as a poet and writer. She married fellow poet Ted Hughes in 1956; they lived together in the United States and then England, and had two children, Frieda and Nicholas. Plath suffered from depression for much of her adult life, and in 1963 she committed suicide.(Source: Wikipedia)

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Lewis Carroll

‘If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there’ – Lewis Carroll

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (27 January 1832 – 14 January 1898), better known by his pen name, Lewis Carroll, was an English writer, mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon and photographer. His most famous writings are Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, which includes the poems Jabberwocky and The Hunting of the Snark. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Lao Tzu

‘Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment’ – Lao Tzu

Laozi (also Lao-Tzu) was a philosopher and poet of ancient China. He is best known as the reputed author of theTao Te Ching and the founder of philosophical Taoism, but he is also revered as a deity in religious Taoism and traditional Chinese religions. Although a legendary figure, he is usually dated to around the 6th century BC and reckoned a contemporary of Confucius, but some historians contend that he actually lived during the Warring States period of the 5th or 4th century BC. A central figure in Chinese culture, Laozi is claimed by both the emperors of the Tang dynasty and modern people of the Li surname as a founder of their lineage. Throughout history, Laozi’s work has been embraced by various anti-authoritarian movements. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Walt Whitman

‘Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you’ – Walt Whitman

Walter “Walt” Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) was an American poet, essayist and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse. His work was controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass, which was described as obscene for its overt sexuality. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Oscar Wilde

‘You can never be overdressed or overeducated’ – Oscar Wilde

Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he is remembered for his epigrams, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, his plays, and the circumstances of his imprisonment and early death. At the height of his fame and success, while his masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), was still on stage in London, Wilde had the Marquess of Queensberry prosecuted for libel. The Marquess was the father of Wilde’s lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. The charge carried a penalty of up to two years in prison. The trial unearthed evidence that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial for gross indecency with other men. After two more trials he was convicted and imprisoned for two years’ hard labour. (Source: Wikipedia)

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George Eliot

‘It is never too late to be what you might have been’ – George Eliot

Mary Ann Evans (22 November 1819 – 22 December 1880), known by her pen name George Eliot, was an English novelist, journalist, translator and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She is the author of seven novels, including Adam Bede (1859), The Mill on the Floss (1860), Silas Marner (1861), Middlemarch (1871–72), and Daniel Deronda (1876), most of them set in provincial England and known for their realism and psychological insight. She used a male pen name, she said, to ensure her works would be taken seriously. Female authors were published under their own names during Eliot’s life, but she wanted to escape the stereotype of women only writing lighthearted romances. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Harriet Beecher Stowe

‘Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn’ – Harriet Beecher Stowe

Harriet Elisabeth Beecher Stowe (June 14, 1811 – July 1, 1896) was an American abolitionist and author. Her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) was a depiction of life for African Americans under slavery; it reached millions as a novel and play, and became influential in the United States and United Kingdom. It energized anti-slavery forces in the American North, while provoking widespread anger in the South. She wrote more than 20 books, including novels, three travel memoirs, and collections of articles and letters. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Mark Twain

‘Go to heaven for the climate and hell for the company’ – Mark Twain

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885. Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which provided the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. After an apprenticeship with a printer, he worked as a typesetter and contributed articles to the newspaper of his older brother, Orion Clemens. He later became a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River before heading west to join Orion in Nevada. He referred humorously to his singular lack of success at mining, turning to journalism for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. In 1865, his humorous story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”, was published, based on a story he heard at Angels Hotel in Angels Camp, California, where he had spent some time as a miner. The short story brought international attention, and was even translated into classic Greek. (Source: Wikipedia)

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E E Cummings

‘Unless you love someone, nothing else makes sense’– e e cummings

Edward Estlin Cummings (October 14, 1894 – September 3, 1962), known as E. E. Cummings, with the abbreviated form of his name often written by others in lowercase letters as e e cummings (in the style of some of his poems), was an American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright. His body of work encompasses approximately 2,900 poems, two autobiographical novels, four plays and several essays, as well as numerous drawings and paintings. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Oscar Wilde

‘To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable’ – Oscar Wilde

Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he is remembered for his epigrams, his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, his plays, and the circumstances of his imprisonment and early death. At the height of his fame and success, while his masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), was still on stage in London, Wilde had the Marquess of Queensberry prosecuted for libel. The Marquess was the father of Wilde’s lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. The charge carried a penalty of up to two years in prison. The trial unearthed evidence that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial for gross indecency with other men. After two more trials he was convicted and imprisoned for two years’ hard labour. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Dorothy Parker

‘If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to’ – Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker (August 22, 1893 – June 7, 1967) was an American poet, short story writer, critic and satirist, best known for her wit, wisecracks, and eye for 20th-century urban foibles. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Lao Tzu

‘When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be’ – Lao Tzu

Laozi (also Lao-Tzu) was a philosopher and poet of ancient China. He is best known as the reputed author of theTao Te Ching and the founder of philosophical Taoism, but he is also revered as a deity in religious Taoism and traditional Chinese religions. Although a legendary figure, he is usually dated to around the 6th century BC and reckoned a contemporary of Confucius, but some historians contend that he actually lived during the Warring States period of the 5th or 4th century BC. A central figure in Chinese culture, Laozi is claimed by both the emperors of the Tang dynasty and modern people of the Li surname as a founder of their lineage. Throughout history, Laozi’s work has been embraced by various anti-authoritarian movements. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Jane Austen

‘Perhaps it is our imperfections that make us so perfect for one another’ – Jane Austen

Jane Austen (16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature. Her realism, biting irony and social commentary as well as her acclaimed plots have gained her historical importance among scholars and critics. Austen lived her entire life as part of a close-knit family located on the lower fringes of the English landed gentry. She was educated primarily by her father and older brothers as well as through her own reading. From her teenage years into her thirties she experimented with various literary forms, including an epistolary novel which she then abandoned, wrote and extensively revised three major novels and began a fourth. From 1811 until 1816, with the release of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1815), she achieved success as a published writer. She wrote two additional novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818, and began a third, which was eventually titled Sanditon, but died before completing it. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Epictetus

‘The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best’ – Epictetus

Epictetus (A.D. c. 55 – 135) was a Greek Stoic philosopher. He was born a slave at Hierapolis, Phrygia (present day Pamukkale, Turkey), and lived in Rome until his banishment, when he went to Nicopolis in north-western Greece for the rest of his life. His teachings were written down and published by his pupil Arrian in his Discourses. Epictetus taught that philosophy is a way of life and not just a theoretical discipline. To Epictetus, all external events are determined by fate, and are thus beyond our control; we should accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately. However, individuals are responsible for their own actions, which they can examine and control through rigorous self-discipline. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Murakami

‘Whatever it is you’re seeking won’t come in the form you’re expecting’ – Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami (,born January 12, 1949) is a contemporary Japanese writer. Murakami has been translated into 50 languages and his best-selling books have sold millions of copies. His works of fiction and non-fiction have garnered critical acclaim and numerous awards, both in Japan and internationally, including the World Fantasy Award (2006) and the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award (2006), while his oeuvre received among others the Franz Kafka Prize (2006) and the Jerusalem Prize (2009). Murakami’s most notable works include A Wild Sheep Chase (1982), Norwegian Wood (1987), The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1994-1995), Kafka on the Shore (2002), and 1Q84 (2009–2010). He has also translated a number of English works into Japanese, from Raymond Carver to J. D. Salinger. (Source: Wikipedia)

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TS Eliot

‘Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go’ – T.S. Eliot

Thomas Stearns Eliot OM (26 September 1888 – 4 January 1965) was an essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic, and one of the twentieth century’s major poets. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri. However he emigrated to England in 1914 (at age 25) and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927 at age 39, renouncing his American citizenship. Eliot attracted widespread attention for his poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1915), which is seen as a masterpiece of the Modernist movement. It was followed by some of the best-known poems in the English language, including The Waste Land (1922), The Hollow Men (1925), Ash Wednesday (1930) and Four Quartets (1945). He is also known for his seven plays, particularly Murder in the Cathedral (1935). He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948, “for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry.” (Source: Wikipedia)

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Mark Twain

‘The secret of getting ahead is getting started’ – Mark Twain

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885. Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which provided the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. After an apprenticeship with a printer, he worked as a typesetter and contributed articles to the newspaper of his older brother, Orion Clemens. He later became a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River before heading west to join Orion in Nevada. He referred humorously to his singular lack of success at mining, turning to journalism for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. In 1865, his humorous story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”, was published, based on a story he heard at Angels Hotel in Angels Camp, California, where he had spent some time as a miner. The short story brought international attention, and was even translated into classic Greek. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Simone De Beauvoir

‘Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay’ – Simone de Beauvoir

Simone Lucie Ernestine Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir, commonly known as Simone de Beauvoir (9 January 1908 – 14 April 1986), was a French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist and social theorist. Though she did not consider herself a philosopher, she had a significant influence on both feminist existentialism and feminist theory. De Beauvoir wrote novels, essays, biographies, autobiography and monographs on philosophy, politics and social issues. She is known for her 1949 treatise The Second Sex, a detailed analysis of women’s oppression and a foundational tract of contemporary feminism; her novels, including She Came to Stay and The Mandarins; and her lifelong relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre. (Source: Wikipedia)

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George Orwell

‘Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear’ – George Orwell

Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950), who used the pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic. Commonly ranked as one of the most influential English writers of the 20th century, and as one of the most important chroniclers of English culture of his generation, Orwell wrote literary criticism, poetry, fiction, and polemical journalism. He is best known for the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and the allegorical novella Animal Farm (1945). His book Homage to Catalonia (1938), an account of his experiences in the Spanish Civil War, is widely acclaimed, as are his numerous essays on politics, literature, language, and culture. In 2008, The Times ranked him second on a list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945”. (Source: Wikipedia)

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C S Lewis

‘You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream’ – C. S. Lewis

Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963), commonly called C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as “Jack”, was a novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, and Christian apologist. Born in Belfast, Ireland, he held academic positions at both Oxford University (Magdalen College), 1925–54, and Cambridge University (Magdalene College), 1954–63. He is best known both for his fictional work, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Space Trilogy. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Samuel Beckett

‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.’ – Samuel Beckett

Samuel Barclay Beckett (13 April 1906 – 22 December 1989) was an Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet, who lived in Paris for most of his adult life and wrote in both English and French. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humour. He is one of the key writers in what Martin Esslin called the “Theatre of the Absurd”. His work became increasingly minimalist in his later career. Beckett was awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Tolkein

‘A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities’ – J.R.R. Tolkien

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE (3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973) was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high-fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Murakami

‘Memories are what warm you up from the inside. But they’re also what tear you apart’ – Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami (,born January 12, 1949) is a contemporary Japanese writer. Murakami has been translated into 50 languages and his best-selling books have sold millions of copies. His works of fiction and non-fiction have garnered critical acclaim and numerous awards, both in Japan and internationally, including the World Fantasy Award (2006) and the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award (2006), while his oeuvre received among others the Franz Kafka Prize (2006) and the Jerusalem Prize (2009). Murakami’s most notable works include A Wild Sheep Chase (1982), Norwegian Wood (1987), The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1994-1995), Kafka on the Shore (2002), and 1Q84 (2009–2010). He has also translated a number of English works into Japanese, from Raymond Carver to J. D. Salinger. (Source: Wikipedia)

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Joan Didion

‘Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant’ – Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

Joan Didion (born December 5, 1934) is an American author best known for her novels and her literary journalism. Her novels and essays explore the disintegration of American morals and cultural chaos, where the overriding theme is individual and social fragmentation. A sense of anxiety or dread permeates much of her work. (Source: Wikipedia)

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